Behind the Mic: The Last Ballad

Lament for textile worker, balladeer, and union organizer Ella Mae Wiggins

The Last Ballad

Narrator Karen White takes AudioFile listeners Behind the Mic to share her thoughts on the narration of THE LAST BALLAD. This Earphones Award winner by Wiley Cash revolves around Ella Mae Wiggins, a forgotten heroine of history.

“The story resonates so deeply with all the social justice issues that we are still wrangling with today.” —Narrator Karen White

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Solve: Reading vs. Listening vs. Watching

Audiobooks are not cheating!

Recently I took a trip to Central Virginia to visit a friend who moved there. She waited for me to arrive before heading out to her new library so she could sign up for a card and investigate this cherished repository of stories. It’s a lovely, modern building that includes a front porch and—no joke—rocking chairs. But what really caught my attention was this sign they had hanging on one of the bookshelves:

Audiobooks Are Not Cheating

Having worked as a high school English teacher, I cannot understand the mindset that audiobooks are cheating. Don’t misunderstand—I believe literacy is vital in our society, but reading the words printed on the pages of a book is at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy. Where the true value of good stories comes into play is in the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of characters, plot, theme, sometimes setting, symbols, etc. And when we listen to audiobooks, we’re still wholly responsible for that role. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!